Заклинание или молитва? Магические сборники в армянской христианской традиции: проблемы содержания и интерпретации
This paper discusses the main types of magical miscellanies in the Armenian manuscript culture, their contents, evolution, and interpretation in the Armenian Christian tradition and in the scholarship of the 20th–21st centuries. Despite the canonical and theological ‘war against magic’ witnessed in various medieval sources from the fifth century onwards, the extermination of magical practices amongst Armenian Christians did not really take place as is witnessed by a very large number of manuscripts that might be called ‘written amulets’ or ‘magical miscellanies’, two highly popular and resilient types of text compilations. Hand-written amulets, hmayils, in the form of highly decorated and illuminated scrolls, designed for private use and travel, came into use in the fifteenth century. They contained prayers, Gospel readings, images of saints and depictions of Bible stories, and sometimes, also magical formulas and signs to ward off evil eye and demons. The other type of miscellanies, axtarq or Kiprianos, usually in the form of a codex, contained astrological treatises and tables, mixed with excerpts from the Gospels, prayers, spells, and images of demons. Judging by the contents and accompanying images in both types one might suggest that Armenian Church turned (a more or less) blind eye on the scrolls production due to their relative acceptability for a Christian, while the second type was seen as continuation of an ancient astrological tradition connected with the Graeco-Roman inheritance in the Armenian culture.